How To Choose The Best Mushroom Supplement For Brain Health

Written by Angie Arriesgado
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Keen on boosting your cognitive function and brain health? You’re in the right place. Today, we’re exploring the nootropic benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms. Plus, we’ll also share tips to help you choose the best mushroom supplement for brain health. Let’s unlock the secrets of this brain-boosting marvel!

Are lion’s mane mushrooms really good for brain health?

First off, lion’s mane isn’t your average mushroom. It contains special compounds that can boost your cognitive function and brain health. The most well-known of these compounds go by the names Hericenones and Erinacines, and they act like food for your brain.

You can find Hericenones in the fruiting body, the part of the mushroom that grows above ground. Conversely, Erinacines exist in the mycelium, the underground root-like network. Both compounds contribute to lion’s mane’s neuroprotective benefits and play a role in stimulating the nerve growth factor (NGF).1

Lion’s mane is the only edible mushroom that promotes NGF, making it the best mushroom supplement for brain health. It’s effective in enhancing memory, boosting nerve growth, and supporting cognitive health!2 3

That said, here are a few ways lion’s mane supplements may help with brain health:

But that’s not all. Recent studies show that this mushroom’s benefits go beyond brain health. After all, lion’s mane does not just contain Hericenones and Erinacines, they’re also rich in Beta Glucans and other compounds.

Check out our ultimate guide to lion’s mane mushrooms and learn the other ways these shrooms may support your health.

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6 Tips to choose the best lion’s mane mushroom supplement for brain health

With so many brands selling their version of lion’s mane supplements, which one is right for you? Here are 6 tips to help you make the right choice:

1)   Choose a lion’s mane supplement extracted from fruiting bodies

A genuine lion’s mane mushroom supplement should come from the fruiting bodies, not the mycelium. As mentioned earlier, the fruiting bodies grow above ground and people commonly refer to them as ‘the mushroom’ itself.

While it’s true that mycelium does have certain benefits (it’s rich in Erinacines), we don’t recommend mycelium-based supplements. Here’s why:

Lion's mane mushroom extract

Most commercially sold mushrooms are grown on grain substrates (usually rice or oats), which isn’t a problem per se. However, manufacturers often mix the substrate with the mycelia, which artificially inflates the polysaccharide content. The resulting product often contains very little mycelium, which means you’re not getting what you paid for and you won’t enjoy the benefits associated with mycelium.8

Our Intelligent Labs Lion’s Mane supplement is extracted 100% from the fruiting bodies. We use no part of the mycelium. A 2-capsule serving of our Lion’s Mane supplement contains 1,000mg of pure fruiting body extract.

2)   Check the Beta Glucans content

Another advantage of choosing fruiting bodies over mycelium-based supplements is the Beta Glucans content. These are polysaccharides found mainly in fruiting bodies.

Potential health benefits include boosting immune health,9 and lowering cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.10 The mycelium has zero to little beta glucans content.

For our Intelligent Labs Lion’s Mane supplement, we standardize the beta glucans content to at least 25%. This helps ensure you don’t just enjoy lion’s mane’s brain boosting benefits, but get well-rounded health support, too.

3)   The extraction method used

Lion’s mane is a medicinal mushroom, so the extraction method matters a lot. Otherwise, the bioactive compounds can easily be destroyed. 

The traditional extraction method for fruiting bodies involves the use of hot water. This process melts away the chitin (fibrous material) and dissolves the beta glucans. Once the water evaporates, the bioactive compounds remain. This is the lion’s mane extract.

We use this hot water method for our Lion’s Mane supplement. We don’t use alcohol or any harsh chemicals. When you use our product, you get 100% pure mushroom extract with all natural compounds intact.

4)   Choose a lion’s mane mushroom extract over ordinary powder

Ordinary lion’s mane powder does not go through an extraction process (like the hot water method described above). It’s just plain powder grounded from dried mushrooms. They are typically cheaper than extracts and they retain the mushroomy smell and flavor.

On the other hand, lion’s mane extracts are highly concentrated. But contrary to what you may expect, the mushroom flavor isn’t retained. This explains why our supplement has a neutral smell and taste.

We recommend choosing lion’s mane mushroom extract if you want to enjoy the health benefits associated with these mushrooms. Since the bioactive compounds are concentrated, you get the best bang for your buck!

5)   The best mushroom supplement for brain health is third-party tested

Third-party testing is important to ensure you’re actually getting what you paid for. For instance, it’s easy for manufacturers to make all kinds of claims on product labels and marketing materials.

Here at Intelligent Labs, our products go through third-party testing. Moreover, we manufacture exclusively at an NSF GMP-certified facility in the United States.

6)   You want to get good value for your money

A lion’s mane supplement extracted from the fruiting bodies (not the mycelium) provides excellent value. They contain no substrate, so you can trust that the label values aren’t inflated. As previously stated, the fruiting bodies are rich in compounds like Hericenones and Beta Glucans.

Conclusion

Lion’s mane mushrooms have gained considerable attention in recent years due to its potential to enhance cognitive function and brain health. However, keep in mind that supplements are just one piece of the brain health puzzle – always factor in a healthy lifestyle. Lastly, don’t forget to consult your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplements like our Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract.


References:

  1. Lai, Puei-Lene, et al. “Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium Erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, vol. 15, no. 6, 2013, pp. 539–554, https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30. ↩︎
  2. Martínez‐Mármol, Ramón, et al. “Hericerin Derivatives Activates a Pan‐Neurotrophic Pathway in Central Hippocampal Neurons Converging to ERK1 /2 Signaling Enhancing Spatial Memory.” Journal of Neurochemistry, 31 Jan. 2023, https://doi.org/10.1111/jnc.15767 ↩︎
  3. Queensland, The University of, et al. “Mushrooms Magnify Memory by Boosting Nerve Growth.” UQ News, www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2023/02/mushrooms-magnify-memory-boosting-nerve-growth-0. ↩︎
  4. Mori, Koichiro, et al. “Improving Effects of the Mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium Erinaceus) on Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial.” Phytotherapy Research, vol. 23, no. 3, Mar. 2009, pp. 367–372, https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2634. ↩︎
  5. Nagano, Mayumi, et al. “Reduction of Depression and Anxiety by 4 Weeks Hericium Erinaceus Intake.” Biomedical Research (Tokyo, Japan), vol. 31, no. 4, 2010, pp. 231–7, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20834180 ↩︎
  6. Thongbai, Benjarong, et al. “Hericium Erinaceus, an Amazing Medicinal Mushroom.” Mycological Progress, vol. 14, no. 10, 16 Sept. 2015, link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11557-015-1105-4 ↩︎
  7. Mori, Koichiro, et al. “Nerve Growth Factor-Inducing Activity of Hericium Erinaceus in 1321N1 Human Astrocytoma Cells.” Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 31, no. 9, 2008, pp. 1727–1732, www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/31/9/31_9_1727/_article ↩︎
  8. “Our Guide to the Best Lions Mane Mushroom Extracts in the UK – Mind Nutrition UK.” Mindnutrition.com, mindnutrition.com/blog/guide-to-the-best-lions-mane-mushroom-extract-supplements-in-the-uk ↩︎
  9. Kim, Hyung Sook, et al. “Stimulatory Effect of β-Glucans on Immune Cells.” Immune Network, vol. 11, no. 4, 2011, p. 191, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3202617/ ↩︎
  10. “Beta-Glucans: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning.” Webmd.com, 2019, www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1041/beta-glucans. ↩︎